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tv   [untitled]    July 27, 2011 5:00pm-5:30pm PDT

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>> good evening, and welcome to the july 27 meeting of the san francisco board of appeals. the presiding president is president goh, vice-president garcia, commissioner fung, and
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commissioner peterson. at the controls is the board's legal assistant. i am cynthia bornstein, the executive director. we are joined this evening by representatives from some of the city departments that will be appearing. we have tim fry, representing the historic commission, and joseph dufty is here representing the department of building inspection. we anticipate that the zoning administrator, scott sanchez, will be here shortly. at this time, if we could go over the meeting guidelines and conduct the swearing in process. >> the board requests that you turn off all funds and pagers so they will not disturb the proceedings. please carry on conversations in the hallway. the rules of presentation are as follows -- appellants, permit holders, and department holders -- and apartment representatives
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have seven minutes to present their cases and three minutes for rebuttal. people affiliated with these parties must be in these times. members of the public or not affiliated with the parties have up to three minutes each to address the board and a rebuttals. members of the public to wish to speak on an item are asked but not required to submit a speaker card or business card to board staff when you come to the podium. speaker card and pans are available on the left side of the podium. the board also recommends your comp -- wellcome share comments and suggestions. at our customer service satisfaction forms. if you have questions about requesting a rehearing or schedule, please speak to board staff during the break for after the meeting or call the board office tomorrow morning. it is located at 1650 mission street, room 304.
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this meeting is broadcast live on san francisco government television, sfgtv cable channel 78, and dvd's of this meeting are available for purchase directly from sfgtv. thank you for attention. it if you intend to testify at at any of tonight's hearings and wish to have the board to give your testimony evidentiary weight, please stand, raise your right hand, and say "i do" if you have been sworn in or affirmed. and a member of the public may speak without taking an oath, pursuant to their rights under the shine shine ordinance. -- under the sunshine ordinance. thank you. the u solemnly swear -- do you solemnly swear or affirm the testimony or about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? thank you. >> thank you.
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president goh, commissioners, we have one housekeeping item, appeal number 075, item number seven, which is the building permit that has been withdrawn and will not be heard this evening. we move on to item one, public comment. it is that any member of the public to wishes to speak on an item that is not on tonight's agenda? out -- is there any member of the public who wishes to speak on an item that is not on tonight's agenda? >> commissioners, i apologize, i had my eyes examined it and my vision is a little blurry. i wanted to let you know that i have not forgotten you walt. i still have some serious concerns about the makeup of this board and the qualifications of some of its members, as i have mentioned that the past. other boards and commissions, such as the library commission,
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down the hall, and the police commission are of much more concern to me. ithe thing i told you previously was my big concerns are, number one, free speech. not only the sunshine ordinance, knowing your rights under sunshine, but the brown act, the california constitution, and the constitution of the united states. i give you credit in the sense that as i watch your board, i have yet to see any of you interfere with somebody making public comment. i give you a big thumbs up on that. the second thing is access to public records. this is where i probably still have a bone of contention. because of a case that i talked about that i was not involved in, where there were serious questions about whether the process that had been gone through was fair. i know for a fact that the public records that the person who is a party of the case needed were denied it to her,
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and she was run through a whole bunch of sunshine ordinance hearings, which i got the impression was only to just drive her crazy. i brought that here, i said i have no skin in this game, these are just acquaintances, but i've seen what they have gone through and i think there are some serious things, annual shrugged it off and said, not our problem. the building department gives her a hard time, thought would never, that is no concern of ours, that somebody else is worried. i think that is inexcusable. i was elected to two terms of the neighborhood board in honolulu, and there were things that was made clear, number one, at no time what i said still and allow them to stop a member of the public from speaking, second, if anyone raised questions about the fairness of our process, it would be given serious consideration, whether we felt comfortable doing that or not. the feeling i have with a lot of the boards here, including this
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one, is the fact they really did not care a lot about whether their process is fair. they simply take things, like the guy who put in all of the things and do all of the right people to talk to and had a hundred different projects where he submitted plans with false signatures and fall seals, things like that, i have yet to hear anything come of that. everybody says if there's an indictment, you'll hear, but that should not be the way government works. the government should try to be fair to everyone and if not get to a citizen to take them to court to be treated fairly. >> thank you. is there any other general public comment? seeing none, we move to item number two, commissioner comments and questions. commissioners? commissioner peterson: i will be absent september 14. i need to be in atlanta, ga., for an annual conference. my apologies. than any other commissioner comments?
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any public comment on this item? ok, we move on to item 3, the adoption of minutes. before you for consideration are the minutes of the board meeting of july 13, 2011. president goh: commissioners? what somebody like to move for adoption? commissioner peterson: i will move to adopt. >> is there public comment on the minutes? ok, seeing none, if he could call the roll, please? >> on that motion from commissioner peterson to adopt the july 13 minutes -- [roll call vote] fenty, the vote is at 5-0, those minutes are adopted. -- thank you. >> item four, appeal number 10- 108, richard and cher zillman obverses the historic preservation commission.
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this is for 280 divisadero street, appealing the denial on september 10 -- september 1, 2010, certificate of appropriateness to confront the house at the rear of the subject property to a presidential unit. a public hearing was held on march 9, 2011, and the matter is on for further consideration today. the matter was continued to allow time for the parties to discuss alternate design options, and no additional briefing was allowed. if commissioner peterson, you were absent that that this was first heard. commissioner peterson: yes, but i have watched the video. >> update, thank you. we will hear from the department first. -- ok, thank you. we will hear from the department first. mr. frye. bu >> good afternoon, i am tim fry, on behalf of the planning department. the board requested that the
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department and the appellate work on a viable compromise to the proposed project. we represent. we met with the appellant's representatives. it was a project that would be in closer conformance with the interior standards. it would not trigger any additional ceqa review, no additional review through eir, and it would allow a number of additional features to be incorporated and constructed into the design. unfortunately, the appellant was not willing to accept the compromise. i reiterate that the department and the historic preservation commission have all try to work with the appellant to develop a style that met the standards and allow for the conversion to a residential unit. does indicate what the compromise recently developed, we still believe there is approval for the project at this location, but without compromise on the design and the fact the
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appellant would like to move forward with the original project, i would like to reiterate that as of september 1 hearing, the historic preservation commission disapprove this project based on the department recommendations. while the property is at the rear of the property, the historic preservation commission does not believe the proposed design is appropriate for an individual landmark because it violates the secretary of interiors standards. they wait all of the issues -- they looked at all of the issues and to simply demolish the building and reconstruct at the site we believe should be upheld. at the historic preservation commission determined the proposed alterations would destroy much of the building as it exists today and the design was not in conformance with the standards that the historic preservation commission uses to review projects such as this. the department, in closing,
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respectfully request this board uphold that decision and disapprove the certificate of appropriateness. and that concludes my comments. president goh: mr frye? i think you said that the appellant's attorney was in fault in the revised proposal but that the appellants themselves or not? >> that is correct. president goh: okay, thank you. >> we will hear from the appellants now. >> my name is richard zillman, the applicant. we are appealing the decision by the starke preservation commission. they took a very technical view of our plans. if we accept that the hpc is correct in both instances, which a doorway with appeals. the board of appeals job is to consider all goals, encouraging property owners to maintain
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their properties, and recognizing community support. the project should be evaluated not as to the effect on the carriage house but on the effect of the overall site itself, since the sot must be removed for repair work. it is considered an unavoidable, defacto demolition. we have decades of experience renovating san francisco victorian apartments. in showing our places, if we have heard it once, we have heard it a thousand times, light is very important to me and i love the detailing. we decided the facade contains historic elements arranged a fantastic, modern style, which some call victorian fantasy. in response to suggestions from the land bart board's architectural review committee, with simplified the original design as a compromise. you ask us to meet with planning staff to see if the project
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could be further simplified. we were willing to consider changes to the garage or the door. we were not agreeable to changes to the carriage house as the design elements all have their purpose. over half of the structure is not historic and all other as much integrity. however, we still think we have some integrity and we are not presenting the design revisions. this project has been featured in several newspaper articles because of its beauty and the perception of unfair treatment. this is why neighbors and hands on preservation says sat through five hours of hearings and were highly upset that we were continued. r district supervisor has written three support letters, and most people think the situation is crazy. they cannot believe that what the opposition to a building that cannot be seen from the street just because somebody might mistake for a vintage structure, even though we would post a plaque and before and after photos. your vote for us would create
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attractive housing along a major transportation corridor, along with the san francisco master plan and sends the message that architectural diversity is important. if you vote against us, you send the message you do not value the support of the neighborhood where the part of the preservation committee that lives and works on historic structures or believe that architecture is not acceptable in conjunction with the start districts and landmarks. we value your support. thank you. are there any questions? president goh: commissioners? commissioner peterson: did you get a chance to look at the revised proposal? >> i was generally given what it was going to entail. let me say this, supervisor peterson, you did not come to our house for a site visit. this project is going to be very expensive to do, both in terms of time, money, in terms of the
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inconvenience, and we will have to put a lot of work into it. to succeed, to go ahead with a project like this, we're going to have to have a major carrot. that is to build our design. i frankly am just not willing to dumb down the design to get approval. i would rather walk away. commissioner peterson: thank you. >> and the other questions? president goh: i was having trouble understanding what happened at -- we heard the case, and then you suggested that you get together with the department and try to work out a compromise. could you talk about that? >> i understand the question, commissioner. it was decided by my attorney that perhaps it would be better if they went in alone. so they went in.
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they were told what the department was proposing. we don't think what is being proposed is anywhere closer to some of the historic preservation's interpretation or the secretary of interior standards that are plans. we see no reason why we are going to do anything at all and which not be able to do our plan. on that basis, i said we're going to do it our way or not at all. president goh: okay, i see. thank you. >> any other questions? commissioner fung: you had something on the overhead. did you want to show something? you have to reference it on the microphone. >> what this is, this is a picture of the proposed design. any other questions? commissioner peterson: i have
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one last question. i thought there were statements about the roof collapsing, some issues with the roof. if you walk away from this, what happens to the structure? >> what my wife is saying is that the roof apartment is new. commissioner peterson, this structure has significant dry rot. when you look at a photo of it, it sags in the middle. and has no foundation. to do this project is going to require a lot of money. there are structural compromises when they made changes in the front of the structure. there is dry rot, from what we are told. the building is down slope and the under portion of it is bad lead dry rot because water has run into the building for a long time with little or no foundation supporting. frankly, we have significant
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other demands on our time and money. we will just put our time and money elsewhere. we will do minimal work to try to keep the building from falling down, but we will do seismic work elsewhere. does that answer your question? commissioner peterson: it does, thank you. >> any other questions? thank you, commissioners. >> thank you. is there any public comment on this item? >> i would like to say something. it may i? >> was there any time left? ok. commissioners, the matter is submitted. president goh: i have a question for mrs. zillman. you are talking about the covering on the roof, and i was wondering if your additional comment had anything to do with that? >> that ruth was replaced not
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too long ago. -- that roof was replaced not too long ago. commissioner hwang: what was your comment? >> i felt personally that the difference from what the city wanted and what we were proposing was really kind of insignificant. the city wanted square windows where we had round windows. they probably did not want this tower on there, but there is sort of not a real good reason for not having those things. and so the proposals that were shown to us were glass and steel, which are totally inappropriate for the property, and this was never, ever a barn. this was a carriage house, and this is a big difference. the other proposal was as a barn. since their proposals were not to do with the historic carriage
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house, that is why we feel our design is just as good as something as the city proposed. commissioner hwang: thank you. president goh: did you get a sketch from the meeting with your attorney? was there a sketch or drawing or something produced from that? >> from this last one? not that i know of. i don't know. i do not believe so. president goh: okay, thank you. mr. frye? >> there was no sketch provided. we walked through the drawings with the zillmans' attorney and indicated the areas where we felt we could compromise and get the zillmans part of the proposal they wanted and maintain some of the character of the building. president goh: the areas of compromise, those included the
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windows? >> that is correct. president goh: okay, thank you. any other comments? vice president garcia: i have a question of mr. sanchez. mr. sanchez, aside from any historic considerations, would this building otherwise qualified because of the degree of deterioration, would qualify for demo? >> if you are referring to an emergency demolition from the department of building inspections, he should talk to mr. dufty about that. it is the director of the building department that determines whether it qualifies for an emergency order of demolition. vice president garcia: i was talking more about something i thought was under the province of planning, which had to do with the degree to which a building was -- what is the word
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i want -- damaged, it is greater than 50%. i thought this came to the planning code. >> there are, but that is separate from this is a landmark building. vice president garcia: i am stand, a set aside from any landmark considerations, would this building, standing alone, would qualify for demolition? >> we would need to get a report from a licensed engineer. there is a process for determining the replacement cost for says upgrading the structure. without the report from the engineer that testifies to that fact, we would not be able to make a determination. there is a process for that, for the buildings and the city, under planning code section 317, demolition of structures of building that are unsound. that is separate from the emergency order, independent of a landmark issues. vice president garcia: is a
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greater than 50%? i am asking you to speculate. >> there are bearing threshold's that depend on the replacement of the structure compared with the upgrades. vice president garcia: speculating, would you state whether this building would normally be allowed to be demolished if it had no landmark status? >> i do not have enough information to speculate on that, unfortunately. vice president garcia: thank you. commissioner hwang: is landmark status in question at all? >> no, it is clearly a landmark. commissioner hwang:. president goh: commissioners, any more questions? i think we are in deliberations now. vice president garcia: i guess i will go. i think my feelings are well
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known on this. the reason i asked that question, i know it has landmark status, but it seems as though landmark status is purely a function of the landmark status of the building in front. it has an unknown origin. many of the original features out have been destroyed. and were something to happen to the front building, then we would consider this not being someone who is on the historic preservation commission that a reasonable case could be made for the fact that this, in and of itself, standing alone would not qualify for a historic landmark status. i think the other thing that always bothered me was the fact that the alternatives seem to not represent anything that has to do with any sort -- because the irony is, the